Monthly Archives: January 2015

The Sixth Man – Episode 43

The Dream

There is a funny thing about paranoia and amnesia,” Wilson said as he flipped through the channels, “you know they are following you, but you don’t know who they are. Not so funny after all.”

Wilson packed his bags and made his way to the car looking suspiciously around. He drove all night and into the daylight the next day. During that time a hundred or so images reeled-off in his head like thumbing pages in a book of pictures; before one was able to be grasp another appeared soon to be replaced by an other and an other and so on and so on. Finally at the end the page was blank.

If only I could get one image to stop,” Wilson thought, “to pause it for a fraction longer. I see something and it’s gone, but I know it’s there. It’s just covered, covered by other events that are covered by other events.”

Medication,” Wilson murmured as telephone poles passed by. “Could that slow it down? Maybe that’s what sped it up to begin with.”

It was past noon somewhere in Nebraska Wilson pulled off the side of the road. He had been rubbing his eyes and drifting from one side of the lane to another. He dropped the seat back and relaxed. Sleep came quickly.

There was a dream. Who knows where dreams come from, but things unrelated to other things show up like unexpected, unwanted, or uninvited guests. They stay for a while and later left to wonder, why did they show up? I haven’t thought about them in years. I hardly knew them.

There was a man in the dream, a young man, short, muscular; a hard working and hardy man.

Do you remember me?” he said.

Yeah,” Wilson said, “it’s been a long time. Aren‘t you Mathias Winthrop?”

That’s me,” he said.

The army, right?” Wilson said.

I think I can help you,” he said.

Didn’t you help me another time?” Wilson said.

Yeah,” he said.

I saw it today in a vision,” Wilson said “It went by so fast I couldn’t make it out.”

You remember it now, don’t you?” he said. “It was jungle training and you got lost. To tell you the truth I was lost too. Between the two of us we really got lost.” He chuckled. “But eventually we found our way and made it through without being captured by the aggressors.”

Yeah,” Wilson said, “I forgot about that.”

You forgot a lot of things,” he said.

Yeah,” Wilson said. “I could sure use some help now.”

That’s why I’m here,” he said.

How can you help?” Wilson said.

Do you remember where I’m from?” he said.

Some place in South Dakota,” Wilson said. “Where?”

I’m not telling you everything,” he said. “I’m going to make you work for it.”

Yeah,” Wilson smiled. “That’s the way you were. You never gave anything to anybody they didn’t work for.”

That’s right, Gentry,” he said. “Think, where am I from?”

Wilson woke. He looked at the clock on the dash. “1, 2, 3, 4,” Wilson said, “12:34, that means something. Hecla, Hecla, South Dakota, that’s where Mathias Winthrop came from.”

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The Sixth Man – Episode 42

Another Piece To The Puzzle

Wilson was laying in his motel room bed watching TV when his phone rang.

Hello,” Wilson said.

Dad, this is Drake,” Drake said. “I found out about Burton Parnell. He teaches trial advocacy at the University of Montana in Missoula. He has a ranch. It looks like about a 45 minute drive from town.”

Well that’s where I’ll be heading,” Wilson said.

Burton Parnell is at the top of the ladder, Dad,” Drake said. “I read where he’s an eccentric old guy, but nothing gets by him. He’s trained some of the country’s best trial lawyers.”

Is he better than Abernathy?” Wilson said.

Dad,” Drake said. “You should know this, Abernathy was one of his students.”

Just when I thought things would get easy,” Wilson said.

I can get access to phone logs,” Drake said. “If a call from this office to Montana comes from this office I’ll let you know.”

I got a question, son,” Wilson said. “Somebody is going through a lot of effort to hide something from me. How much money am I worth?”

Didn’t Mom tell you anything?” Drake said.

We talked about the dealership and the others I owned,” Wilson said, “but we never talked about money. I suspected I did okay, I mean that’s quite a house.”

Dad, you own a couple of building in Atlanta and some warehouses too,” Drake said. “In fact, you own the building Abernathy’s firm is in. He rents from you.”

You still haven’t answered my question,” Drake said. “How much am I worth?”

I’m not sure, Dad,” Drake said. “Millions.”

In other words enough to make a good friend do crazy things if the opportunity presented itself,” Wilson said.

Yeah,” Drake said.

I’m starting in the morning for Missoula,” Wilson said. “Watch your back, son. Trust no one.”

You do the same,” Drake said.

They hung up and Wilson stared at the ceiling. “It’s always nice if you know what the puzzle is supposed to look like.”

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The Sixth Man – Episode 41

Find Me A Lawyer

Wilson drove around the corner and called Drake.

“Drake,” Drake said, “Can I help you.”

“Drake, this is Wilson,” Wilson said.

“Dad, how are you doing?” Drake said.

“Fine,” Wilson said, “but I got something very important to tell you.”

“What?” Drake said.

“Abernathy may soon know you’ve been in his safe,” Wilson said.

“How?” Drake said.

“I wasn’t thinking,” Wilson said, “but I told Haverston I became aware of a file with his name on it in a lawyer’s office.”

“How will he connect that to me?” Drake said.

“Haverston slipped up,” Wilson said. “He denied any knowledge of me in the last 30 years, but said I had businesses, plural; that’s not a coincidence.”

“How did he react?” Drake said.

“He tried to explain it,” Wilson said.

“If Haverston calls Abernathy, it will come back to me,” Drake said.

“I’m sorry for the jam I put you in,” Wilson said.

“I’m in a jam,” Drake said. “You don’t even know who the hell you are. Look, if Haverston does call Abernathy, Abernathy won’t do anything. He’ll go on like every thing’s normal. He’ll move the file someplace else.”

“Do you know where that might be?” Wilson said.

“No,” Drake said. “Is there anything you need help with right now. You’ve been through so much already.”

“I think I’m doing okay,” Wilson said, “but there is something I need to know as soon as possible.”

“What is it?” Drake said.

“I need you to find out the whereabouts of a lawyer named Burton Parnell,” Wilson said. “He might be in Wyoming or Montana. He defended me 30 years ago.”

“Defended you!” Drake said.
“I was being investigated for murder. That’s about all I know,” Wilson said. “Haverston gave me his name.”

“Who were you supposed to have murdered?” Drake siad.

“Another soldier in Nam,” Wilson said.

“I’ll get right on it and call you as soon as I can,” Drake said.

“Thanks, son,” Wilson said and he paused realizing that was the first time he called Drake son.

“You’re welcome, Dad.” Drake said.

And they hung-up.

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The Sixth Man – Episode 40

Compassionate Dr. Haverston

“You killed a fellow soldier,” Haverston said.

“Where?” Wilson said.

“Vietnam,” Haverston said.

Wilson slowly shook his head. “Let me guess, you built your career on proving amnesia doesn’t exist and I stand in the way of your theory. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

“You should go now,” Haverston said.

“Yeah,” Wilson said sarcastically, “I sure don’t want to convince you otherwise.”

“I can’t help you if you don’t want to be helped,” Haverston said.

“Helped!” Wilson said. “I’ve traveled half the country looking for something anything and you say I don’t want help.”

“You have found yourself in a little jam,” Haverston said. “I’m going to say it’s some sort of civil action or a nasty divorce that you’re about to lose half your businesses and this little scheme got you out of a mess a few years ago so you thought of trying it again.”

“Why wasn’t I convicted?” Wilson said stepping closer.

“No one to actually testify against you,” Haverston said. “The only witnesses were the enemy and it was impossible to summons them.”

“So you testified I did not suffer from amnesia,” Haverston said, “and somebody had to testify I did and they must have been more compelling.”

“There was a strange vibe going on in the country at the time,” Haverston said. “Killing another soldier was like saving 10 lives of the enemy. Some people looked on you as a hero. The prosecution could have had another dozen psychologists testify against you, the defense would have found a dozen to say you were suffering from amnesia.”

“It must have been embarrassing,” Wilson said and stepped back toward the door. “Just one thing, what was the name of the psychologists who testified for me?”

“I can’t remember his name,” Haverston said.

“I would expect as much,” Wilson said.

“You likely think of me as being uninterested in the plight of those who claim memory loss,” Haverston said, “but let me assure you I am compassionate and care, so much so that I tell the truth even though the truth is unpopular and hard to bear.”

Haverston paused. Wilson stared.

“Your lawyers name was Burton Parnell,” Haverston said. “He was from Wyoming or Montana; took the case for the publicity. Other than that you will have to go to the Army for my notes and records.”

“Thanks,” Wilson said. He stepped out of the office and immediately stepped back in. “Haverston, how do you know I have businesses?”

“A lot of people have businesses,” Haverston said.

“Yes,” Wilson said, “but you said businesses. You already knew I had more than one business. You’ve been in contact with Abernathy.”

“I don’t know an Abernathy,” Haverston said.

“Of course you don’t,” Wilson said.

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The Sixth Man – Episode 39

Denial

“My name is not Joseph,” Wilson said. “As far as I know it’s Wilson Gentry. Does that ring a bell?”

Haverston stood and slowly moved over to his desk and stood behind it.

“There is no need to be afraid of me,” Wilson said. “I don’t know you. All I can surmise is that you treated me while I was in the Army. I don’t have any recollection of you or the treatment, nothing.”

“Than how did you find me?” Haverston said.

“Your name appeared on a file in a lawyers safe,” Wilson stood and edged closer to Haverston‘s desk. “Never mind how I found out about it. I found out that my memory loss started 30 years ago. I have a friend in law enforcement who directed me to Ft. Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis. I went there and for the first time in the last few months something seemed familiar, a bar just off post.”

“Yes,” Haverston said. “I remember it.”

“I went inside and never mind all the details, but I found someone who knew me and I mentioned your name to them and they remembered me talking about you,” Wilson said. “And that’s why I’m here. I was under your care, why?”

“You can get the records yourself,” Haverston said. “You don’t need me.”

“You see, Dr. Haverston,” Wilson said. “Your name is in my file and that file is held in a private safe I have tendency to think what is going on is far more than me being under the care of a psychologists and just merely finding out why. There is something more to this and I think you are involved.”

“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Haverston said. “I evaluated you and passed my findings on to the Advocates office and they handled it from there.”

“Was there a trial?” Wilson said.

“Yes,” Haverston said.

“Did you testify?” Wilson said.

“Yes,” Haverston said.

“What did you tell them?” Wilson said.

“I told them you were unfit for military duty,” Haverston said.

“Why?” Wilson said.

“You were mentally unstable,” Haverston said. “You suffered from a psychological defense mechanism called denialism.”

“What was I denying?” Wilson said.

Haverston hesitated and held his tongue between his teeth.

“You shouldn’t be a afraid to tell me,” Wilson said. “I know you have something to say. Just tell me and I’m out of here.”

“My concern is if your amnesia is real it may push you further away from who you really are,” Haverson said.

“How many cases of real amnesia did you ever come across, Dr. Haverston?” Wilson said.

“One,” Haverston said. “Yours, but I was never really sure. I thought you were just clever.”

“I have 30 years of proof,” Wilson said.

“Or 30 years of denial,” Haverston said. “And you have gone to great lengths to preserve the story to hide what you can’t face.”

Wilson shook his head incredulously. “If I’m faking, what’s the harm?”

The room filled with an uncomfortable silence.

Haverston pressed his lips and blurted, “You killed a man.”

Wilson squinted and turned his ear toward Haverston as if he wasn’t sure what he heard. “What?”

(Edit note: I’m writing this story as I go. At times changes have been made. Currently I am near the end of the story. Likely there will be over 100 episodes. I have changed the length of my protagonists’ amnesia from 37 to 30 years. The reason is that it just fits better with the time line in my own mind. My choosing 37 years to begin with was more arbitrary and personal than I care to explain at this point.) 

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The Sixth Man – Episode 38

Haverston’s Thesis

“I was educated at Columbia,” Haverston said. “One of the best schools of psychology in the nation if not the world. My doctorate thesis was a study on amnesia victims. My thesis was published into a book that is still used today. I have sense written three other books based on actual studies of various cases I’ve been involved in.”

Haverston stopped and looked at Wilson curiously. “This is rather mundane, do you want me to go on?”

“When you have nothing up here,” Wilson said pointing at his head, “The mundane seems new and exciting.”
Haverston smiled. “Clever, Mr. Joseph.” He continued. “I served four years in the Army beyond school. It was a good arrangement. I was burdened with dept and the armed services were woefully low on psychologists. That’s how my education was paid for. I worked with soldiers who claimed to be victims of amnesia.”

“I’m curious,” Wilson said. “What were the results of your findings.”

“Amazingly,” Haverston said, “in all my work I did not find one soldier who suffered from true amnesia.”

“I suppose once you got out of the army this made you popular with prosecutors,” Wilson said. “All those guys that killed there wives and can’t remember a thing about it.”

Haverston wore a smug smile. “Unfortunately, that is often the case.”

“How many cases of true amnesia have you come across?” Wilson said.

“None,” Haverston said. “And don’t back away, that leaves me in the best position to help you.”

“How so?” Wilson said.

“Let’s say you wanted a few days off work,” Haverston said. “There was a project coming up that you just did not want to do and you knew your boss would be unusually demanding; demanding to the point it might make you ill. Let’s say I’m your personal physician and you come to me with back pain. You say you can’t sit at your desk and your back pain is giving you headaches so bad you find it difficult to cope or think. I give you a doctor’s excuse for some medication to ease the pain and knowing with the medication you can’t drive to work or perform at optimum at a high level job I give you a week off.

What do you see wrong with all this?”

“I’m laying to avoid something unpleasant,” Wilson said.

“That’s right,” Haverston said, “and if you had been truthful with me I could have helped you find a way to get along with your boss and found the real root of you problem.”

“Which might have been what,” Wilson said.

“Fear of failure, the fear of displeasing someone, the fear of being fired…”

“So it’s fear,” Wilson said, “It’s about overcoming fear.”

“In my scenario,” Haverston said, “it my be the fear of being fired, but it may come down to the perception the person may think of himself as incompetent or unworthy. Let me assure you we all have a level of incompetence, but we are all worthy.”
Wilson smiled. “That’s very nice to know.”

“So let’s say I’m hiding something from you,” Wilson said, “how do you get me to reveal it.”

“You trust that I will never judge you, Mr. Joseph,” Haverston said.

“That’s very compassionate and wise of you,” Wilson said. “But haven’t you already judged that in all likelihood I don’t have amnesia? Doesn’t all your experience, scholarship, and training suggest that? Maybe I don‘t like my boss or my work, but maybe I really do have a bad back. Bad backs are nearly impossible to diagnose, right?”

“Amnesia is easier to diagnose than a bad back, Mr. Joseph,” Haverston said.

“Sure,” Wilson said sarcastically, “it doesn’t exist.”

“Why are you here, Mr. Joseph?” Haverston said.

“Truth, Dr. Haverston,” Wilson said. “I want the truth or at least your version.”

“What do you mean?” Haverston said.

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The Sixth Man – Episode 37

CounselingOffice[1]Meeting Dr. Haverston

The waiting room was comfortable and soft looking with light blue walls and various shades of pastel furniture. Wilson filled out a questionnaire and handed it to the receptionist.

“The doctor will see you shortly,” she said.

Wilson smiled and sat down. A few minutes later he was led into Dr. Haverston’s office. It was lined with shelves of books and interesting souvenirs and trinkets. Two leather chairs sat at forty-five degree angels from each other with a mahogany end table between the chairs.

Haverston shook Wilson’s hand. “Mr. Joseph, have a seat and make yourself comfortable. Would you like coffee, tea, or perhaps a soft drink. I know it’s early for a soft drink, but some people don’t mind.”

“I’m fine, thank you,” Wilson said.

“So I see, Mr. Joseph, you have amnesia,” Haverston said. “Have you been diagnosed.”

“No,” Wilson said. “It doesn’t take a doctor to tell me that I don’t know who I am.”

“Have you tried to find out?” Haverston said.

“Actually,” Wilson said. “I know what my name and what I am, but except for the last few months I have no memory. For a couple of months I’ve been able to reconnect with old friends and family, but you could tell me you’re my older brother and I’d have to believe you. It is very complicated. There seems to be a couple of layers of amnesia. When I peel one back there is another.”

“Are you sure it’s nothing organic?” Haverston said. “Have you been to a medical doctor?”

“No,” Wilson said. “Thus far I have been able to find some things out about me that leads be to conclude my problem is some sort of psychological trauma.”

“Can you tell me what it is?” Haverston said.

“That’s why I’m here,” Wilson said. “I was hoping you could help.”

“I may be able to help,” Haverston said. “I’ve had some experience in this area, but may I say from the beginning that most cases of amnesia are not. I’m going to be truthful some fake amnesia to avoid consequences of a previous bad act. It usually evolves possible prosecution for a crime, but I see you are here on your own volition., so can we eliminate that?”

“I don’t know,” Wilson said.

“Suppose you tell me a little about what you do know about yourself,” Haverston said.

“At this point there is not much to tell,” Wilson said, “but I would like to know about your experience with amnesia victims. That seems fair. If you don’t mind me saying you already have some doubt about amnesia. If I went to a doctor with an infection and the doctor thought they were the result of a wicked spirits I could hardly expect a cure, wouldn’t you agree? So could I have some of your background.”

“Sure, “I’m not offended in the least. Let me tell you a little of my background.”

“I’m sure it’s interesting,” Wilson said.

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